I’ve just finished reading Marc Cooper’s Dissonance column in your June 22–28 issue. First, I think it’s a great move on your part to have Marc as a regular on your paper. The guy is smart, an intelligent dissenter, and to me he just makes sense. As for the question of the progressives taking back either the Democratic Party or the country, I say, “Keep on dreaming!” Our political system has been so corrupted by money, maybe it will have to hit bottom — like when they give an election and nobody shows up — before we see any real change.

—Issa Keita
Los Angeles



With all due respect to Marc Cooper, I just read his Dissonance column and was disappointed. Cooper, like most of what I read in the Weekly, has basically rehashed what a lot of the non-affiliated left has been grumbling about for years and wrapped it around an upcoming conference. If the Weekly is going to call a column Dissonance, then you should at least consider a more dissonant kind of writer — Johnny Angel, say.

—Elisabeth Kasson



Marc Cooper should just send his résumé over to Fox News with an attitude like the one expressed in his article. Clinton was the subject of nearly $200 million in investigation, and negative publicity generated by right-wing neofascists. The trendy cynicism Cooper displays is exactly what the new Brown Shirts of the right wing depend on to continue their mission. Get over yourself, smash your Smiths records, and figure out what it is you want the world to be. Thank you.

—Erik Hilsinger
Eagle River, Alaska



As chairman of our organization’s endorsement committee, I must take issue with Marc Cooper’s swipe that we progressives forgot to invest attention in Tom Hayden’s recent unsuccessful campaign. On the contrary: We made his election to the L.A. City Council a top priority. We sponsored quite a few house-party fund-raisers for Tom, and our members were out in force precinct walking and phone banking. The sting of Hayden’s defeat was all the greater to us because we did not merely sit by and let it happen.

—Clifford Tasner
Vice President
Southern California Americans
for Democratic Action




Re: Gale Holland’s “Unfair Game” [June 22–28]. Thanks for outlining the travails of Scientology critic Keith Henson. It’s rare, these days, to see journalists take the time to cut through “spin” and lies, and hit a nail so squarely on the head. At some point, I am hoping that law enforcement and the legal system will wake up and begin to see — and investigate — Scientology’s constant legal proceedings as criminal harassments by an organized-crime syndicate. Because that’s exactly what they are.

—Michael Reuss
Fort Collins, Colorado



Thanks to Gale Holland for the piece on Scientology and Keith Henson. She covered material that can be a minefield for the uninitiated. Sadly, active Scientologists will be prohibited by their “church” from reading this excellent article.

—Chip Gallo
Washington, D.C.



Nice article on Keith Henson. However, I would like you to clarify that I was not arrested for cultivating marijuana, “as was former Scientologist Jessie Prince.” I wasn’t even arrested. I was ordered to see the judge for violation of an injunction Scientology had set up — having to do with sitting in a red Santa’s chair and walking down the street with two picket signs in Clearwater, Florida.

—Tory Bezazian



Gale Holland’s piece ridicules the Church of Scientology for taking seriously a bomb threat made by Keith Henson. In the same article, Holland writes, “Henson worked in the 1970s for an explosives company in Arizona, and arranged pyrotechnic parties in the desert ‘similar to Burning Man.’” This reader is mystified why anyone should not take such a threat very seriously. Is Holland brimming with Panglossian naiveté, or is she just not being objective?

—Jeff Farrow



Keith Henson does not have to like Scientology, but he made violent threats, was convicted of a hate crime by a jury of his peers, then fled to Canada to escape punishment. He is a convicted criminal and fugitive from the law. Why are you defending him? Your credibility suffers.

—Bill Zalin
Los Angeles



Your recent article on Keith Henson really misses the point. A jury unanimously convicted him of interfering with a religion. His interference consisted of following Scientology religious workers, taking down their license numbers and stalking them at their homes. This is not the expression of opinion; it is harassment of individual Scientologists solely because of their faith. If the victims of Henson’s obsession had been members of a Catholic or Jewish congregation, I’m sure that even the L.A. Weekly would not be so cavalier about the rights of the church members involved.

—Pam Shannon
Church of Scientology
Los Angeles



Re: Joseph Treviño’s “Almost Aboard” [June 22–28]. I’m sick and tired of hearing the Bus Riders Union call the MTA racist. I find it incredibly naive to assume that there is some vast conspiracy within the MTA simply because it’s trying to build a faster, smoother, more efficient way for its constituents to get around. I invite L.A. Weekly readers to look at a map of the Los Angeles County rail system and see which communities it travels through. Since when are Watts, Compton, Koreatown, Vermont-Wilshire, etc., enclaves of white populations? Anyone who says they are does not know Los Angeles very well, and anyone who says that the majority of rail users are white obviously has never ridden any of the Metro Rail lines.

—Jason Saunders
Los Angeles



Joseph Treviño’s article failed to mention that the Bus Riders Union’s conflict with the E.L.A. Light Rail is about more than civil rights. It’s about money. The E.L.A. Light Rail will, in large part, be funded by money — from the feds and the state — that has been earmarked for rail use only, money that cannot be used to buy more buses, or for housing, or for health care, etc. (It was earmarked before the BRU’s consent-decree lawsuit.) Therefore, if the BRU was successful in halting the E.L.A. Light Rail project under the guise of civil rights, that money, somewhere in the range of $400 million, would be taken away and used in another city. East Los Angeles would be left with nothing — no light rail, no improved bus system. Sure, the BRU would have another feather in its cap. But it would not have won the heavily Latino Eastside anything tangible, and it’s nearly impossible to see a civil rights victory in that.

—R. Daniel Gutierrez
Los Angeles



Re: Brendan Bernhard’s “The Ad Campaign That Would Not Die, 2001” [June 22–28]. Has anyone noticed that Church With Red Ribbon, 2001, referring to the First United Methodist Church, designed by architect Thomas B. Barber (1929) at the top of Highland Avenue, is not “bricks, stucco,” as the label claims, but an unusually fine example of exposed reinforced-concrete construction? This is somewhat like a museum mislabeling an oil painting acrylic. MOCA should get its facts right before presuming to label the city.

—Jack Burnett-Stuart
Los Angeles



In your July 6–12 issue, you published a review of the play The Book of Esther. Please note that the performance your reviewer attended featured Liza Kaplan, not Allyson Ayalon, as Young Mindy.

—Deborah Sale Butler (Adult Mindy)
Studio City

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